Skyscrapers and green hills
Hong Kong Travel Blog› entry 1 of 5 › view all entries
Hong Kong is not waiting for an outbreak of the swine flu, this much is clear when we arrive at Hong Kong airport. At first we had to fill in some sort of medical form when we were still on the plane, now that husband Rens and I are approaching the passport check we notice that all people who are passing get a ‘ temperature check’ as well. If your head turns up too red on a screen, your body temperature is too high to their liking, and you are considered a thread.
Since I have a cold, I feel lucky they let me pass. Who knows what they consider to be a risk? Fact is that a lot of Asian people at the airport wear masks. I guess that isn’t weird since these people had to deal with SARS only a few years ago.
The taxi drive to our hotel is interesting, the driver turns out to be one of those few people who speaks a bit of English and after he has established we are from Holland, he starts calling the names of Dutch soccer players in the English soccer league. It takes a while for us to understand what he is saying ( ‘ Jip Sti’ is Jaap Stam, but that’s a ridiculous name anyway), Rens is delighted as always when a taxi driver has heard of Dutch soccer.
It’s late in the afternoon and from the car window I can see the lowering sun shed shadows at the foot of the high skyscrapers that appear at the horizon. The tall buildings are what we expect of Hong Kong, but I am surprised to see the countless green hills that surround all this modern architecture. It’s also unusual to see that our taxi has no problem whatsoever to drive. I thought Hong Kong would be one huge traffic jam, however, there are hardly any other cars. Even when we arrive in Kowloon (at this point the driver thinks of ‘ Vi Best’ a.k.a. Van Basten, also a stupid name) there is barely any serious traffic to be seen.
Checking in at the Stanford Hotel is a breeze, but once we are in our room we drop ourselves on the bed and sigh. It’s almost dark and neither of us feels like going out to find some hip and happening restaurant. The easiest solution is to stay in the hotel and eat at the dinner buffet of the Stanford Café, a note in our room tells us we get a 15% discount if we eat there on our first night anyway.
The Stanford Café turns out to be quite small and nearly every table is occupied with enthusiastic eating Asians. I love Asia, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the fact that to them it is normal to eat with as much noise as is possible.
The buffet is not great, it’s a pity there are very little vegetarian options. But that’s okay, I’m creative. Some noodles and fried vegetables followed by plate full of sweet deserts is fine by me!